Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Out of The Box School Lunch Ideas

Enough with artsy bento boxes already. Let's be real! We are currently a little more than half way through the school year. Frustration hasn't set in quite yet, but when May rolls around I know I'll be at my wits end trying to figure out what to pack in the kids lunches. So, I'll make a list here and refer back to it later.

Let me tell you a few things about Chloe and Nash. They are really picky when it comes to lunch. Not breakfast or dinner, just lunch. They both refuse to eat the school lunches in the cafeteria and I don't blame them.  Neither one likes the same thing for more than a few days in a row. For the most part, Nash doesn't like what Chloe eats and Chloe doesn't like what Nash eats. Furthermore, Chloe takes a reusable lunch box that I can fill with a thermos or Tupperware container and utensils. She always brings them home, never lost and never late. Nash on the other hand, takes his lunch to school in a paper bag and has a poor track record for bringing home reusable items. If Chloe doesn't eat something it remains in her lunch box, where I can see it when she gets home. While Nash throws everything away, I ask everyday how his lunch was and he is more than happy to share what he liked and what he didn't like with me. I would rather know that he didn't like something and try and accommodate him next time rather than have him throw it away like I used to do. What a terrible waste. Not to mention they get home two hours before dinner and are starving. That is its own dilemma.

I have a small chalk board in the kitchen where I jot down what I am thinking of making for breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner the following day or days. I do this for myself, because  often times, I will think of the perfect lunch for them and when I wake up not so bright-eyed, I can't remember what I was going to make. This little step saves me time in the morning and makes for a more balanced lunch.

I always do my shopping on Sunday or Monday. I like to buy fruit from Costco, it's one stop for the whole week. I wash it, slice it, and store it in the fridge so it's ready to go in the mornings.

I searched Pinterest this morning for some new lunch ideas. I typed in "Kids lunch ideas". Mostly what came up were tons of impractical artsy bento boxes. First of all, food cut into a star shape is not going to persuade my 9 year old or high-schooler to eat it. I didn't find any of these lunches to be practical. I'm not an artist and I'm not going to wake up 30 minutes earlier to color coordinate their fruit and turn their sandwiches into funny faces! I already make a hot breakfast and two completely separate lunches. I usually have 4 dirty pans in the sink by the time we leave for school! You will get a few different ideas by searching "school lunch ideas" instead.

Our Unbento Lunchbox
Today Chloe had soup and crackers with an apple. She eats the Gripz cookies at snack. I can't give her much more than that because they really don't have all that much time to eat. She is a pretty slow eater to begin with. If I give Chloe pasta for lunch and fruit, I always put the pasta in a one-cup container, and the fruit in a one and a half or two-cup container.

I'm going to attempt to separate this list into three parts. One for Chloe, one for Nash, and one for both.

Chloe's Lunches
Teriyaki chicken and rice (in thermos) this is her favorite
Plain pasta w/evoo
Nutella sandwich (occasionally)
Apple (sometimes sliced with a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar because it masks the browning)

Nash's Lunches
Grilled cheese
PB with no J
Peanut butter and cracker sandwiches

Salad with croutons and chopped meat (Glad salad containers with snap in dressing cups. At Target.)
Cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches
Cream cheese on a bagel (on Bagel Thins)
Turkey, salami, or roast beef sandwich
Strawberries, hulled
Pineapple chunks
Melon chunks
Kiwi quarters
Orange wedges
Shelled edamame

They both get water everyday and one pantry item each day. A pantry item is anything that comes in a bag, ,box or wrapper, IE: granola bar, pretzels, etc. I use the small snack bags to maintain proper portions. Chloe gets an organic chocolate milk two times per week.

Here are some ideas I got from the web:
Milk in a thermos with a side of cereal
Hot dog in boiling water in a thermos with a bun and condiments on the side.
Waffle sandwich? Hmmm, I'll have to think about this one.

I know my lists aren't very long. I would love your ideas!
What do you pack in your kid's lunches?

No comments: